It's 5 am and the chimes on my phone are gently waking me up.
I roll over, turn it off and start grumbling about what I want to accomplish today, when my mantra, "You'll feel better in the water" drifts through my brain. I get up, take care of this and that, get on my swim suit and throw on several layers. It was 7F when we got up this morning. (That's ~-14C for the rest of the world)
Get to the gym, stuff my crap in the locker, shower off in HOT water to brace myself for the shock of...
Woah, warm pool. Oh yeah, I'm a total rock star, getting in this comfortable pool to do what's essentially a warm-up to the real swimmers. Lynne Cox, look out.
I do my workout, pushing hard to be under time for the particular distance I'm doing. Didn't quite make it, but I was all red in the face and breathing hard and feeling mellow, so while disappointed, it was only a little. Mostly what I was feeling was glad of the swim. No surprises there.
In the shower, as often happens, one of the other people who was in the pool strikes up a conversation. Now this woman doesn't swim laps but does other exercises in the water. I'm in favor, myself. I mean, water is where any sensible person is going to work out, right?
"I wish I could keep up with you real swimmers," she comments after a bit of talk about water temperature (she thought it was cold) and this and that.
I shrug and say, "Hey, you're here, and there ain't nuttin' like a water workout to start the day no matter what."
Inside, I'm trying my best not to crack up since I'd spent the last half hour or so eye-rolling myself for not being a real swimmer.
I know comparing oneself is a thing you just don't get away from. I see it from people who don't swim as well as I do, and I see it from people who are so far ahead of me swimming-wise that there's no way I'll ever catch up.
I don't even think it's necessarily a horrible thing. A lot of personal rhetoric is all about feeling good about yourself, and that's fine, but we'd never accomplish anything if there was nothing to which we aspired.
It's really only a problem if it discourages you enough to quit.